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  1. Don Megson? First clue points to “Donald” and he’s the only one I can think of.
  2. Still one of my favourite Wednesday players ever. I’d have been 8 when we signed him. Tommy Craig had gone by the time I started going so he was the first real flair player I saw. I remember him scoring from miles out against Hull in the last game of the 78/79 season in the game when Mel Sterland scored his first goal for us. He was basically a breath of fresh air and way too good to be plying his trade for a mid table third division team. He was so good that he had a poster one week in Roy of the Rovers, unheard of for a Division Three player. I think he was also featured in Shoot’s “Profile on” page where footballers answered inane questions on their personal lives which invariably involved identifying George Benson as their favourite Recording Artist (honourable mention to Garry Thompson who I always remember liked The Jam) and Steak and Chips as their favourite meal. As mentioned above, Brian picked up a hamstring injury and his replacement was Gary Megson who Big Jack signed in the summer of 81. According to Wikipedia, Brian is big mates with Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. To cut a long story short I think it’s true to say he’ll always be gold for Owls of my age.
  3. This post is not a defence of Darren Moore but more a look at how times have changed. To any fan of my age, the mention of Jack Charlton is enough to make you go misty eyed. It was October 77 when he watched the Chesterfield game from the North Stand and decided to take over at 24th placed 3rd Division Sheffield Wednesday who, at the time, had been out of Division One for 7 years. It was such a coup to get him, and he goes down as one of our great managers. I thought I'd jump in to my Blue & White Time Machine to take a brief look back at that period from October 77 to May 80 when we won promotion. He took over a team which had finished 8th the previous season under Len Ashurst so to be bottom without a win until that Chesterfield game wasn't expected. Looking at Jack's first ten league games takes us to Boxing Day 77 when we lost 1-0 at Tranmere and were still bottom. Jack's record reads W2 D2 L6, so not much of a new manager bounce to start with. We also got knocked out 1-0 by non-league Wigan in the 2nd round of the Cup. Then something clicks, we only lose 3 more that season and finish a comfortable 14th. Jack's record reads W14 D11 L10. We win 10 of those games by the odd goal. 1978-79, our record after drawing at Chesterfield on Boxing Day is W5 D10 L6. We are 16th, harder to beat but not easy to watch. That winter is awful. We only play one league game between Boxing Day and mid February and lose at Plymouth. What we do have is the Arsenal Cup marathon where we grab the nation's attention by somehow managing to play above ourselves in taking the eventual Cup Winners to 5 games. Despite what we are being served up in the League, we keep the faith. A 2-1 home win over Gillingham in front of 8205 (ok not everyone kept the faith) moves us up to 18th. 3 wins from the last 4 games sees us finish 14th again. W13 D19 L14. What we do achieve is the signing of Terry Curran in March but we don't look nailed on Promotion Candidates for the following year. 1979-80. Big Jack has decided after almost 3 years that it is going to take a big goalkeeper, a big centre half and a big centre forward to get us out of Division 3. Nobody is arguing over Mike Pickering or Andy Mculloch, but Bob Bolder is contentious, particularly taking over from Chris Turner who was a fans favourite. On the Saturday of August Bank Holiday weekend we lose 3-0 at home to Blackburn and Bolder has a nightmare. Big Jack drops him in favour of another young keeper Brian Cox. After 12 games we are 5th. W4 D5 L3 which would have given us 17 points (so 2 less than we have at the same stage now). We have a bad November (by which time Bolder is back) and a 1-0 home defeat to Exeter leaves us 8th while the other side of the city are top. We seem in particular to have a complex playing at Hillsborough. We then of course have Boxing Day followed by a 1-0 home defeat to Plymouth. We start February in 8th place and then from somewhere we find form. 8 wins out of 9, 16 unbeaten until we lose at Bury. With Chesterfield breathing down our necks we have that terrific night at Blackburn and then even though we lose at Exeter we're up. It was never a given in those 3 years that we were going up. We were often tough and dour until we had the flash of brilliance from a T.C. or a Brian Hornsby. Yes, we were Sheffield Wednesday in the 3rd division and only 7 years (not 21) out of the top, but we nobody handed us anything. Jack just got on and managed. There were so many times, so many performances when you could have questioned him. But he was World Cup winning Jack, he'd won it all as a player and had a great track record as a Manager with Middlesborough (a bit like Pulis had a track record until he joined us). He'd been on Parkinson and talked about his little black book. If you didn't like his methods or his style then bugger you. You had no Owlstalk, no Twitter, no Praise or Grumble... you paid your money and hurled your cushion. You didn't dissect how articulate he was in pre or post match interviews because you didn't hear them. If Bert Mcgee had have annoyed him or he felt the fans were no longer with him he could have walked out to catch salmon or shoot grouse. That win at Blackburn in 1980, a slight tug on Drew Talbot's shirt in 2005, an Antonio injury time winner against Carlisle in 2012.... so much of what we have achieved over the years is fine margins. I have no idea if Darren Moore will succeed. We could sack him tomorrow and roll the dice again, keep on rolling the dice forever. 21 years away from the big time is way too long. I just can't help thinking whoever does succeeed will take a few more years to sort it out. Big Jack did.
  4. 1. First match v Millwall home Easter Saturday 75. Lost one nil during the run when we didn't score for months. 2. First hero was Brian Hornsby. Big Jack signed him for £45k from Shrewsbury, flair midfielder who scored some great goals. 3. Greatest player....Chris Waddle 4. Best match seen was the 4-4 League Cup Quarter Final with Chelsea 5. Best away day....my wife is a Brummie so I had to stand with her on the Tilton for the last away game in 07. Ok we lost, but it was just a great day out 6. Best ground I've been to...Nuremberg's Max Morlock Stadium 7. Best goal at Hillsborough...Mel Sterland v Arsenal in '88 (wish someone still had it on film) 8. Best atmosphere...when we beat Man Utd 1-0 in Nov 85 to end their unbeaten start. Over 48000 there, it was an awful game but Lee Chapman won it near the end. 9. Best defender (and captain)...Mike Lyons 10. You just have to learn not to get too high or low. There are lots of things we could all wish away at the moment about Wednesday or football in general. The important thing for me is I still care, I haven't lost that and I hope I never will.
  5. Just to say how much I enjoyed reading the book, it arrived on Thursday and I finished it last night. I was born in 69 so the period covered is when I first started supporting Wednesday. Reading it brought back many happy memories, it’s Sunday and I really have bugger all to do so please indulge me…. Wednesday on TV My first actual experience of seeing Wednesday was the YTV highlights of the York game in the autumn of 74. We only had Black and White then so it’s good to be able to see Eric Mcmordie crash that volley in on YouTube now in full colour. By the time they showed the Man Utd highlights in December we had graduated to colour. Even at the age of Five and a Half I remember having doubts over Peter Springett as he went for a walk for their second goal. I remember being allowed to stay up to watch the Palace match on Match of the Day and then YTV showed the Bury home match towards the end of 75/76. Each occasion was a huge event involving me (with my Brown NHS Spectacles) placing myself as near to the tv as possible to absorb every single second, turning round only to frown should someone dare utter a word. Scrapbooks My mum had a Saturday job at Littlewoods in Doncaster. We used to go and pick her up just after six every week. My Dad would then buy a Green Un from the Newsagents next to the Danum. At the start of the 75/76 season he thought it would be a good idea for us to spend Sunday mornings at the dining room table cutting out every Wednesday related article from the previous weeks GreenUn/Sunday People/Daily Express. I wasn’t an overly practical child and struggled hugely to cut out in straight lines. As Sundays went by, dad found himself increasingly alone at the dining room table with scissors and bottle of glue as I was out in the back garden pretending to be Eric Potts (although clearly without hope of ever emulating the painting and decorating skills). I have the scrapbooks in front of me now covering August 75 to May 81. We used to buy them from Boots (for 35p in 1975 apparently) and they have splendid Orange and Purple covers which are just so fitting of the era. The content has faded slightly with age but so has the reader :-) Striker Most kids I knew had Subbuteo but I always preferred Striker. This was the game where you had to press little plastic players heads down to make them kick the ball. The pitch was hardboard covered with felt and marked out into zones which your six players had to remain within. My pitch warped slightly which meant your leftsided defender could bend a ball around the opposition to your leftsided forward. I can’t be sure but it might be worth asking Phil King and Nigel Worthington if they had the same set as I saw them replicate the move many times. Anyway, everytime we used to leave Doncaster and head off shopping to the big city I used to drag my parents to Redgates which was surely the greatest toy and games store ever. They used to stock striker player sets downstairs and I would always travel in hope of picking up a set of my blue and white heroes. The fact that whoever made the game (Palitoy?) never had the foresight to appreciate what a big seller a struggling Division Three side might have been remains one of my biggest childhood disappointments. I was left having to pretend a L***s away kit (or it might have been Romania?) was Wednesday. No wonder Brian Hornsby’s head fell off when I pressed too hard (outside the period of the book I know). Sean’s Party Saturday November 8th 1975. My best friend Sean is 7 and the chosen few of Sprotbrough are going to party like it’s…well…1975. I was a shy and introverted child and I wouldn’t have wanted to go. I did go because it would have been very rude not to and because of parental ideas about bringing me “out of my shell”. I was happiest in my shell. I didn’t share my friends interests in Doctor Who or Space 1999, I had only one thing on my mind all afternoon. It got to half past four and I asked a rather harassed (and surprised) looking Sean’s mum if I could have Grandstand on to see the results come through on the Vidiprinter. As pandemonium surrounded I crouched by their tele to hear Frank Bough or whoever read “Sheffield Wednesday 0 Port Vale 3”. If Sean had any more parties, I didn’t get an invite. The Matches I only went to three in the period covered by the book. I remember disappointingly little of my first game on Easter Saturday 75. 0-1 at home to Millwall who scored early in the second half. My second was the Chester win a few days after the Moors outing. I do remember Alan Thompson warming up in a Parka and Ian Nimmo chipping Grenville Millington who remains my favourite named footballer. The third was a 2-1 win at home to Walsall which featured a fantastic diving header by Phil Henson in front of a sparsely populated Kop. Walsall soon equalised and Dad insisted we left at 1-1 to beat the traffic (attendance that day 9713, Receipts £4992), only to hear on the car radio Ian Nimmo had got a late winner. To Bearwood Owl, a huge thanks. If my fifty year old self could tell my six year old self anything it would be to not worry so much about it as there is more to life than a disappointing football team. If only my fifty year old self would always take heed of the advice!
  6. Have loved reading these stories....for me it was probably Ken Knighton to blame. In April 74, at my Nan's house in Warmsworth, the usual Saturday afternoon ritual of World of Sport was in full swing. Dickie Davies had seamlessly run through the half times and handed over to Kent Walton who was welcoming "grapple fans" (of which my nan was undoubtedly one) from some godforsaken leisure centre somewhere. The usual hush descended only to be broken by dad asking nan if he could borrow her transistor radio to follow Radio Sheffield. He beckoned young me (aged four and three quarters) in to the kitchen and explained the gravity of the situation while we cleared what was left on the 3 tier cake stand nan used to ask mum to put out at 3.45 every Saturday (mainly fondant fancies from what I remember). Dad gave me a beginners course in how league tables worked (I probably struggled with goal average) and explained Wednesday had to beat Bolton to stay up. We did, courtesy of a late Ken Knighton goal (although I think we'd have been safe with a draw as it turned out) and I was hooked. We went home for tea and I couldn't wait for next season. Next season was the worst in our history, we won five games. I saw my first match, a 1-0 defeat at home to Millwall on Easter Saturday 75 in that run when we didn't score for about four months. Whenever, as today, we face Bolton at home, I think back to huddling round that radio with a warm smile. Now someone pass me a cake.
  7. Been following German football for 30+ years, subscribe to "Kicker" on a weekly basis. From what I know of the guy, I welcome the appointment. He has three promotions to his name from Bundesliga 2. He got Augsburg to the playoffs in 2010 where they lost to my team Nuremberg, but went one better the following season and got automatic promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history. He then arguably went one step even better by keeping them there. He quit in the summer of 2012 to move to Hertha Berlin which meant dropping down a league to coach a "bigger" club. Won promotion with Hertha at the first attempt, which given the resources he should have done, but Hertha are not an easy club to coach (a bit like us dare I suggest?) It went sour the following season and he was out of a job until the start of last season when he was hired by Stuttgart to get them out of the Second Division but quit after 5 games. I don't think we can expect the full throttle Klopp or Wagner type experience, this guy is more defensive but he must be a very good coach to achieve what he has achieved (he even assisted Jupp Heynckes at Gladbach before taking over there). What he is most definitely not is a "yes man". He will absolutely not be dictated to by a CEO or Owner - he walked out of a very good job at Stuttgart because of disagreements over player signings. If he isn't happy then he walks. Top Coach - I hope we have the patience to give him a chance.
  8. He really struggled last season and lost his place in a Hamburg team who only avoided the relegation playoffs in the last few minutes of the last day of the season. He was their captain until November but had this taken off him and responded negatively in a Swiss magazine interview which led to him apologising to their Coach and keeping his place in the squad. Then, at the beginning of May, with them staring relegation down the barrel, he was finally axed from the squad and forced to train with their Under 21's because they thought his attitude wasn't right. His last appearance was in an 8-0 defeat to Bayern Munich. Maybe he would come in and want to prove a lot of people wrong, or maybe he is too slow and his career is on a downward spiral. He wouldn't be my first choice, I really hope we've done our homework.
  9. After the game last night I was starting to walk up Herries Road, just where the Bramalls Gold place is. As always it was a bit of a free for all with people walking in the road and cars trying to edge out. I was the last in a line of people who tried to walk between a car pulling out and a taxi. The taxi driver was clearly getting fed up and edging closer to the car in front to try and stop people walking in front of him, which was a bit silly as he wasn't going anywhere. So I thought I'd take my chances....big mistake. He leapt forward again, now putting himself bumper to bumper and I managed to jump backwards at the very last second to avoid getting my legs crushed. There were lots of people who witnessed it and some of them banged on his car, he wound his window down and screamed at me that he was in the road and was generally very aggressive and nasty. So I smiled, put it down to experience and carried on up the hill to where I was parked and gladly sat in my car for nearly 10 minutes waiting for the crowd to thin down. If I had been thinking, I would have got his reg number or taxi firm...but I guess I'll never make a detective. I'd just like to say that I hope forcing me to walk behind his car meant he got wherever he was going much more quickly and safely. I'd also suggest he considers anger management classes or an advanced driving course, or better still an alternative career. I know that if I owned a taxi firm, I wouldn't employ him and nor would I be overly keen to be one of his passengers. I'd also like to thank everyone who asked if I was ok and was generally supportive. Sorry, I would have liked my first post on here to be about the football....but I needed to get this off my chest.
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